In New South Wales it is a serious offence to drive a motor vehicle while your Prescribed Concentration of Alcohol (PCA) levels are higher than permitted for the category of driver’s licence you hold. It’s the festive season and police are out in force to protect the community. For some, it can be difficult to judge whether they are over the legal limit before getting behind the wheel and the simplest and most prudent approach is that if you drive you don’t drink and if you drink you don’t drive.

That said, we appreciate people don’t always act prudently so here is what you need to know, should you or anyone you know be charged with drink driving this festive season.

There are three categories of drink driving for full licence holders, which is measured in grams of alcohol per 210 litres of breath or 100 millilitres of blood. The three categories of drink driving for full licence holders is classified under the following ranges: Low range (0.05-0.079), Mid-range (0.080 -0.149) and High range (0.150 and above).

If charged with a mid-range or higher offence you would likely have your licence taken from you immediately and it is important that you apply to have any period of suspension then applied towards a disqualification which is ultimately made at the time you are sentenced.

The length of disqualification is in part discretionary, meaning that the Court will need to be persuaded as to your circumstances at the time of sentencing.  When sentencing a drink driving offender the Court will take into consideration any relevant aggravating and mitigating circumstances surrounding the commission of the offence. Some of the mitigating circumstances the Court may take into account upon sentencing an offender include: good character and the prospects of rehabilitation. Some of the Aggravating factors that the Court may take into account include: a disregard for public safety, a criminal record of the same or similar offences, any injury or damage to property.

Provisional and Novice licence holders are not permitted to have any traces of alcohol or Illicit drug in their blood or breath whilst driving and heavy penalties apply. The penalties to be imposed may be reduced if a person undertakes a driving programme and for readings of a mid-range or higher offence the driver may be ordered to take part in the Interlock Program to have an interlock device fitted to their vehicle unless an exemption is obtained, noting that such exemptions would ordinarily result in a longer period of disqualification.

If you have been charged with a drink or drug driving offence, contact our Criminal Law Team on 9525 8688 or to ensure you obtain the best outcome for your circumstances.